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Dead Space Franchise Reportedly Cancelled [Update]

The Necromorph killing days of Isaac Clarke may officially be coming to an end based on a new rumor that is circulating. According to the sources of VideoGamer.com, Electronic Arts has decided to cancel/shelve any future Dead Space games, including Dead Space 4, in the wake of the “disappointing” sales garnered by Dead Space 3.  Completely unexpected, perhaps so much so that this rumor seems more fake than true, we best not forget that this is EA we’re talking about.

VideoGamer is reporting that EA has officially shuttered development of Dead Space 4 along with closing Visceral Games Montreal, the studio tasked with developing the title. The source of VideoGamer didn’t delve deep into any company specific politics that may have involved the Dead Space franchise as it appears EA is simply disappointed with how Dead Space 3 has performed at retail so far.

Received well by critics yet splitting the fanbase into two distinct camps, Dead Space 3 has gone over somewhat well thus far but it clearly wasn’t hitting the sweet spot EA wanted to in order to make a cushy profit.  The decision to cancel Dead Space 4 may have been done rather hastily since VideoGamer reported that EA brass visited Visceral Montreal last month to announce their decision to the team and in turn reveal that the studio would be undergoing major changes.

Reportedly plagued by corporate mandates, Dead Space 3 could be the last we see of Isaac Clarke for quite some time – save for his forthcoming appearance in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.  EA’s decision to cancel Dead Space 4 of course means that the rumored spin-off games for the franchise, which included titles with RTS and space combat roots, are assuredly cancelled as well and will likely never see the light of day.

The Dead Space series has always had to prove itself to the upper management at EA since the first entry in the series wasn’t a blockbuster but was nonetheless praised by the gaming community for its original take on the action/survival-horror formula.  But now it seems like EA has decided to end one of their more lucrative franchises and in turn further alienate gamers who actually enjoyed the series.

EA’s decision to end the Dead Space franchise and shutter Visceral Montreal also likely means that the Army of Two franchise is at long last dead as well.  With the third entry in the series scheduled to arrive later this month, we probably won’t see AoT surface again considering that Visceral Montreal was also the driving force behind that series as well.

It’s disappointing that EA has in a way fallen into their old habits of spending millions on games only to never show them or merely cancel a title if it isn’t living up to whatever sales projections that were estimated for the franchise.  Initially starting off strong, the Visceral Games branch of EA is nothing more than a former shell of what it once was now that Dead Space is out of the fold and yet another studio has been shuttered, the first being Visceral Games Australia

EA will likely have one or two new IPs to wow us with for the next-gen consoles, but if this rumor does pan out, which it seems to be, then the company is certainly starting things off a bit rocky.

 

-UPDATE-

As is always the case in the games industry, things have turned around rather quickly as to the fate of the Dead Space franchise. After EA vehimilently denied the rumor to Gamasutra, Visceral Games' Ian Milham confirmed that much of the rumor is indeed false. With Milham being much more reliable and reassuring than EA PR, it'll be interesting to see what about this rumor is true, false, and somewhat true.

Given how Dead Space 3 has indeed performed considerably different, in a negative way, compared to the second outing in the series, it wouldn't be too surprising if EA brass are indeed lookig at how to proceed with the franchise, both to please shareholders who want to earn a profit and gamers who want to play a good game. So hopefully we will indeed receive another Dead Space game that's more horror than action and isn't marketed with a cover of a Phil Collins song.